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A Question of Staplers

Title: A Question of Staplers
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Irvine/Squall
Rating: T
Summary: Irvine needs to ask Squall something.
Notes: For Gnome.

Squall slipped into the double-wide closet he liked to call his office and set his half-empty mug of coffee down on his desk. Xu wouldn't be around to bother him for at least an hour. And that was enough time to get through half his inbox.

With Cid still off with Edea, rightfully so, Squall was still the commander. And everything else, paperwork included.

He noticed his phone blinking, and picked up the receiver to dial his voicemail.

"Hey, Squall, uh... Nevermind, I'll talk to you tomorrow."

Squall blinked. Irvine's voice. He'd seen Irvine the night before, and Irvine hadn't mentioned anything out of the ordinary.

He deleted the message and reached for the first pile of papers.

Three pages in, he realized he needed a stapler.

He'd just found the last inventory forms and order receipts when Xu arrived, looking curiously at the files scattered everywhere around the room.

"We should have twenty staplers," Squall stated.

Xu stared at him.

"I can order more," she replied after a moment. "Use a paperclip."

A paperclip was not the same.

The knock at the door startled him more than it should have, but Squall was fairly engrossed in reading a request packet from a town on the western continent that was having a problem with wild beasts. It sounded like an easy job, so obviously something was off about it. Reading between the lines wasn't helping, either. Maybe they were just a small town with a monster problem - the Lunar Cry hadn't done anyone a bit of good.

"Come in," Squall said quickly, bringing the papers down just enough that he could see over them.

He was a little surprised when Irvine walked in, obviously trying to smile.

"Hey," he said, tipping his hat and looking around. "I don't think I've ever really been in here. Why don't you use Cid's office?"

"Doesn't feel right," Squall admitted. And Cid didn't have a stapler, either.

"Ah," Irvine said. And paused.

The phone rang, and Squall picked it up without thinking. By the time he tried to signal to Irvine that the call would only take a minute, the sharpshooter was gone.

Squall wondered if Irvine was trying to tell him something.

"Sure," Quistis said as she leaned over her desk. She paused. "Or not."

"No?" Squall asked, peering over and hoping it didn't look like he was staring at her ass. He really wasn't, though he did still find her whip quite interesting.

"Ask if Selphie has one," Quistis commented as she stood and stretched. "It's not like someone is hoarding all the staplers in this place."

Squall passed Xu on his way to hunt down Selphie.

"Irvine was looking for you," she said, before holding out empty hands. "And Doc doesn't have a stapler, either."

"Hammer," Selphie ordered, balancing a board on her head and reaching down towards Squall. He gave her a hammer, quickly, and wondered just how long she'd been building scenery for the semester's play. Everything was gorgeous, so far. She certainly had a knack for organizing.

"Do you have a stapler that I could borrow?" Squall asked. "I'll bring it back."

Selphie quickly nailed the board in place and jumped down from the ladder, ignoring every bit of safety training that had been drilled into their heads.

"You came here just for a stapler?" she asked, snickering. "Sure you weren't just looking for Irvine? Y'know, he wanted to talk to you about something but apparently you're too busy."

"Just a stapler," Squall said with a sigh. "Somehow, all the ones in Garden seem to have vanished."

"Hmm..." Selphie bounded off, only to return a few minutes later.

"No?" Squall questioned. Her hands were empty.

"Would a nail-gun work?" she asked. "Things would never fall off your desk, either!"

He made eye contact with Irvine the second he entered the cafeteria, and Irvine jumped up from his seat just in time to knock into a girl with an overly full glass of juice.

Squall frowned and headed off to change, ignoring the chorus of apologies echoing behind him.

In a fresh uniform, Squall sat back down to try to work on the scheduling for the next month. That would be nicely distracting and would require no hard copies until later in the week. A completely stapler-free task.

Squall realized he hated scheduling. Which was why he did it in little chunks, in-between paperwork.

"Come in," Squall said quickly, closing the game of solitaire he was playing on his computer. Also a stapler-free task.

"Hey," Irvine said, slipping into the office and closing the door. "I wanted to talk to you about..."

He was promptly knocked over as the door was thrown open and three SeeD candidates came piling in.


"He started it!"

"We need an unbiased verdict on this!"

By the time Squall had sent them packing, Irvine was gone, again.

The only thing he could think to do was head to Balamb. The office-supply store was probably still open.

Just as he reached the city limits, one of the Garden cars pulled up beside him with the windows down. Honestly, the only reason he'd walked was to save resources.

"Need a ride?" Irvine asked, unlocking the passenger door.

"Sure," Squall said as he reached for the handle. "What are you doing out here?"

"Xu sent me," Irvine admitted. "But only because she asked me to back you up on your super-important mission and besides, I wanted to talk to you. Or at you, whichever."

"Whatever," Squall replied. He thought it almost... funny. Irvine didn't laugh.

"So... what's so important, anyway?"

"Staplers," Squall said.

"Staplers?" Irvine accidentally shifted into neutral.

"It's like every single stapler at Garden vanished today," Squall explained. "And tomorrow, I might need one."

"Staplers..." Irvine echoed as he turned onto the first street.

"So what did you want to ask me?"

Irvine opened his mouth but paused. "Eh, nevermind. After the staplers."

Squall still didn't know what Irvine wanted and really didn't care because he wasn't sure if he was going to punish Irvine for taking a Garden vehicle just so they could park off at the edge of a field and make out like the teenagers that they were or if he was going to keep suggesting that Irvine go a little further.

Irvine's hands were on his belts, tugging to undo them and Squall couldn't help but smile as Irvine broke their kiss and slid down with only one quick enraptured look in-between.

"Didn't you have something to ask me?"

"After you come."

That seemed about as logical as an emergency stapler run, so Squall went with it.

Watching Irvine stammer through dinner was almost fun, in the painfully awkward way. Whatever the subject was, obviously...




Squall wondered when he stopped being able to think without getting interrupted.

With the door locked and a chair shoved up under the knob, Squall stood facing Irvine, staring at him, and hoping he wouldn't freeze. It had taken, originally, a good week of similar sudden-stalling before Irvine had been able to mutter 'I want to suck your cock', so Squall was expecting something even more amusing.

"Bed?" Irvine suggested. "Handcuffs?"

7am, Next:
Squall had his coffee in one hand and a stapler in his other. He wondered what Irvine wanted, anyway. Because Irvine had tried to ask something at one point, but somewhere between the motions of their bodies, Squall had to admit to being a little too busy to pay attention.


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Disclaimer: I don't own it, I'm just playing with it. All titles and characters belong to their respective creators and companies.